Sunday, July 1, 2018

Tips for Nap Time Success

The key to good napping is to be consistent. Make sure to always watch the awake windows and put them into the crib drowsy but awake. This is how they will learn to fall asleep independently and stay asleep!

Top 5 tips for naps:

1) Nap Routine -

Create a good nap environment: Give wind-down time, which should be a short version of the bedtime routine.  For example, a simple routine could be a diaper change, swaddle (for babies under 4-5 months), close blinds, turn on the sound machine and sit for 5 minutes in the chair (sing, read a book) then into crib drowsy but awake.

2) Environment - 

A dark, quiet room: Some babies need total darkness to nap. I always recommend room darkening shades and if it is a noisy home, you might want to try a loud fan or place a white-noise machine in the room.

3) Crib nap and back up plan -

Try the nap in the crib twice a day before going to a “back up nap plan”.  If you look at your log and see that the day sleep is much less than it should be - get a back-up nap using motion sleep, stroller, swing or car ride. Remember nap deprivation will create MORE night wakings.

4) Drowsy but awake - 

After an abbreviated version of the bedtime routine, put your baby in his crib drowsy but awake.  If 10 is fast asleep and 1 is wide awake, shoot for a 6 or 7. This will teach them to put themselves to sleep.

5) Gentle Sleep Coaching - 

Sit beside the crib and soothe the baby. If they need help falling asleep, you can use your verbal (talking or singing) and physical presence to help soothe them the rest of the way to sleep.

Other tips - 

Awake Windows:

Follow your child's sleep cues but also use this awake windows chart below to help time your child's naps to an age-appropriate schedule.  If your child is a champ at hiding their sleep cues, try taking them to a dark room near when you think it's nap time, sometimes that will bring out the tired signs you were looking for to know when is the best time to put them down for sleep. 

For more detailed help with an age-appropriate schedule view our blog with sample schedules by age group.


Consistency is your best friend. We parents can sometimes forget the factors that set naps and night sleep apart: noise level, too much daylight, etc.  Don't forget that naps are the hardest time to put yourself to sleep. 

You want to stay consistent in order to make their nap time the most effective.

Sweet Dreams!

Written by: Michelle S. Donaghy